Finding good images is key to many aspects of our work – be it the creation of social media posts, website feature images or email template designs.
However, if you’ve ever tried searching for stock photos, you’ll understand how much of a hassle the process can be. Standing in our way are lots and lots of tacky stock photos, as well as some…really weird ones. Not to mention that a huge bulk of stock photos in the market are owned by professional giants such as Shutterstock and DepositPhotos – making it even tougher to find cheap, high-quality (both in terms of resolution and, well, inspiration) stock photos for our use.
In recent years, however, we’re starting to see many sites providing royalty-free images, all readily-available for use under the Creative Commons license. With quality photos freely available, it’s not hard to see why we’re cheering over the discovery of these hidden gems.
To save you the trouble of scouring through page after page, here is our collated list of our favourite free stock photo sites!
With over 580,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations in their database, Pixabay is one of the leading free stock photo sites on the web. Almost all of the photos require no attribution at all, and its straightforward search feature makes the page an absolute joy for us.
Good for: Almost everything, really!
Starting out as a Tumblr account, Unsplash quickly grew to become the third largest photography site in the world, and runner-up only to Instagram as the fastest-growing photography site of all time. With over 40,000 photographers in the community and 600 million monthly views on the page, the site refreshes with 10 new photos every 10 days, so there’s almost always something new for everyone.
Good for: High quality scenic photos
The collection on Gratisography deviates greatly from that of the rest on this list, but in a fun, quirky way. Built by artist and web designer Ryan McGuire, the site has some of the wackiest photos that you’ll be able to include in your next website or blogpost – with no attribution required at all.
Good for: Fun, quirky photos
If you’re looking more specifically for food photos – you’re in luck! From salads to desserts, Foodie’s Feed has images of almost every cuisine. With five new photos added per week, it’s definitely a page to bookmark and check in from time to time.
Good for: High quality food photos
Put together by the people behind free website builder tool IM Creator, IM Free has a curated collection of web design resources and premium photos, all free for commercial use. Though their library is considerably smaller than the rest of those on this list, its quality rivals those of the larger pages – definitely still worth a visit!
Good for: Portraits and street photography
With over 6,000 free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, no attribution is required for all images downloaded from Pexels. The site boasts of clean designs and galleries filled with high-resolution images, acting not just as a stock photo site but also one to turn to for inspiration.
Good for: Photos of offices
Easily one of our favourites off this list, StockSnap promises to add hundreds of high-resolution images each week. This alone makes it one of our most commonly visited sites, for there’s bound to be something new each time we drop in. The best thing is, none of its photos require any form of attribution at all!
Good for: High-resolution wallpapers, and photos for web design
While most other sites on this list may have a particular niche or focus, FreeImages has exactly what its name states – free images, vectors and illustrations of every sort. With a broad library of images ranging from wildlife to antiques, it definitely has one of the most exhaustive selections.
Good for: A whole range of material, from illustrations to images
Jay Mantri is the person behind this intimate site – the designer from California shares 7 new photos each week, ranging from cityscape to natural sceneries. The words ‘Free pics. Do anything. Make magic.’ struck us the first time we landed on the page, and we’ve been checking it out every week, ever since.
Good for: Personal, intimate photos
Picjumbo has extremely high-resolution photos in its collections, and navigation through the site certainly makes it feel like a professional stock photo website – so it came as a surprise when we found out that all photos on the page are completely free! If you’d like, they also have a premium membership that gives you access to an exclusive collection of more than 1,000 extra images for your use.
Good for: Photos across all categories
Last but not least, we have Picography. Looking more like a blog instead of a stock photo site, the photos on the page are all taken by a handful of professional photographers, and are entirely free-for-use. The scroll-through gallery has also provided us with many pleasant surprises each time we’re looking for inspiration.
Good for: Artistic, film photography
We hope this list comes in handy in the ever-frustrating quest for that perfect photo. Have we missed out on any free sites that you frequent? Let us know in the comments below!